The Center of Interest of a Nature Photograph

The center of interest or focal point in a photo is the predominant feature in the image, the feature to which the viewer is first attracted. When you create a photograph of a landscape, look for a predominant feature to be your center of interest.

For example, if you’re photographing a landscape at sunset, the setting sun would be your center of interest. If you’re photographing a bird or animal, the eye is almost always a safe bet for the center of interest.

It’s up to you to determine what the center of interest in your photograph will be. The center of interest will be readily apparent in many of the scenes or things you photograph. With other objects or scenes, you’ll have to do a bit of searching.

Compose your image so that the center of interest is off to one side of the image, or compose the image according to the Rule of Thirds.

No rule says you can’t create many different renditions of a scene or object with different focal points.

You can also have multiple points of interest in an image. When you have multiple points of interest, they can act as visual stepping stones to direct the viewer’s eye where you want it to go. Multiple points of interest can be creatures like birds sitting on pilings or objects like trees or flowers.

When you photograph a scene with multiple focal points, be careful how many you include. If you have more than three focal points, you present too much information and risk confusing the viewer.

The best images are those with one or three focal points artistically located within the image. A photo with too many focal points is like a photo with no focal points; the viewer has no idea where to look.

You’ll get a more interesting photograph with an odd number of focal points.

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